Why I Give My Kids Pizza For Breakfast
What you feed your children for breakfast says a lot about what kind of bad parent you are.
Some people give their kids buckets of French toast drowning in ice cream. Some serve bowls of piping hot hollandaise sauce and dipping sausages.
When it's not Pancake Sunday, I give my children cereal. It's fast. It's fun. And they seem to like it.
But then I read that a dietitian claimed that pizza was a healthier option for breakfast than cereal. I became hysterical.
"Pizza?!" I screamed to myself in the movie theatre, where I read all my news. "Better than cereal?! Pishposh! Flimflam! Slipslop!"
And then I felt shame. Shame!
You see, I already knew about the evils of cereal. I was addicted to the stuff. But a few years ago, I completely quit eating cereal for breakfast and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Right up there with buying quality headphones and giving up on that Stranger Things show.
That meant no more Raisin (Sultana) Bran. No more Corn Flakes and definitely no more Froot Loops.
No more Honey Nut Cheerios or Nutty Cheery Frosty Bits or Honey Hammers or Crispy Flaky Dough Boys.
Certainly no more Coco Pops, Count Chocula, Choco Chillies or Choc Crocs.
No more Just Right, Stay Put, Sit Down, Shut Up, Low Expectations or Hey There.
No more Nutri-Grain, Healthy-Smack, Oat-Blood or Wheat-Fun.
(You should check out this list of cereals to find out just how horrifying breakfast can be, especially when it’s marketed to our children. Our children!)
You see, I had to stop eating cereal because I completely quit sugar for two weeks. And what started as a kind of health stunt turned into a sweeping lifestyle change.
I had to confront the fact that there was sugar in lots of unexpected places, especially processed foods. And I was finally forced to face how the body deals with large amounts of sugar (hint: it doesn’t handle it well).
The hardest thing about the ordeal (other than the nasty headaches and low energy in the first few days) was that I had to give up some extremely ingrained habits. Like eating cereal every day.
I was like Jerry Seinfeld with the stuff, eating bowls and bowls until I couldn’t see straight.
Because most, if not all of the cereal I loved is loaded with sugar. That’s why this dietitian thinks pizza is better. It has more protein and less sugar.
I realise that there are cereals out there with minimal sugar. Bran-related or oats-based stuff that you can add yoghurt to and come up with something that won’t kill you over time. And apparently there’s also something called chia pudding.
But that’s not the kind of cereal we’re talking about. And if you get it in a specialty store and it costs $35, it’s not the kind of cereal that’s causing people problems.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch. That’s what’s causing the problems. Some version of processed bread-like product wrapped in white gold.
I won’t bore you with how much sugar (and protein and fibre) a healthy adult human is meant to ingest or how many teaspoons of sugar a bowl of one of these heart attacks translates to.
That’s between you and your god.
And I’m definitely not going to provide a side by side nutritional comparison of pizza and cereal. None of us has -- or wants -- that kind of time.
What I will tell you is that sugar is addictive.
READ MORE: Cut The Sugar And Cut The Cancer Risk
I’ll also tell you that Kellogg's, which makes almost all the cereal in the world, says this about adding sugar to cereal:
"Why Add Sugar? Besides the obvious answer, taste, there are a number of other functions that sugar serves in cereal. Sugar gives a beautiful crunch to the cereal and also makes sure it stays crunchy for longer when you add milk to it. Sugar is also there to preserve the cereal so it’s able to stay fresher for longer."
“Fresher for longer”?
Do they think this is a game?!
But knowing all of that didn’t make it any easier to give up eating cereal in the morning. I mean, I probably would have preferred pancakes and eggs, but that takes a long time to prepare. With cereal, you put it in the bowl and you put milk on top of it… 17 times.
And then it's off to the hospital to get your stomach pumped!
I'm kidding about the 17 bowls of cereal (as far as you know), but the thing about eating processed carbohydrates loaded with sugar is that it is incredibly easy to eat a lot of it. I could eat cereal until my heart stopped -- and I probably wouldn't even notice, because the sugar would somehow be keeping my brain alive.
So now, in the mornings, I take the time to make oatmeal, which many people call porridge (not me -- I don't live in Oliver Twist). It keeps me full for longer and it doesn’t give me a rapid heartbeat. And my palette has changed to the point that just a drop of pure maple syrup in the oatmeal provides more than enough sweetness.
I’m not a health guru. If I was, I’d probably be telling you to go Vegan. What I’m here to tell you is that I no longer experience that 3pm sugar crash. And I’m not hungry one hour after eating breakfast. And I lost weight, which, I think we can all agree, is the most important thing that anyone can do.
Day to day, I try not to eat anything that has more than five grams of sugar per 100 grams, while still enjoying the occasional bit of chocolate, brownies, cookies, wine, beer, whiskey, margarita, pasta and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. (Because I'm a human being.)
But I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had cereal. And it probably involved getting caught in a devastating Cinnamon Toast Crunch Shame Spiral.
And every time I was stuck in a CTCSS, I knew that I’d made the right choice because of the way it made me feel. Yes, it’s the most delicious thing on the planet, but I also got a nasty headache, a rapid heartbeat and it felt like there’s a demon in my lower intestine trying to start a knife fight with someone.
To me, eating pizza for breakfast sounds disgusting and wrong. But my children (my children!) are very precious to me. So if that's what I have to give them, well then that's what they're getting.
Anything's better than cereal.